Vivian Cheng - Singapore
Applying for an international placement was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Even though I was determined at the start of my placement journey to gain a paid placement in the UK, I have never regretted my decision to go abroad to Singapore.
At the start of my placement I found it a little difficult to adjust to the working environment compared to studying. However, my colleagues were very friendly and helped me a lot in and out of the workplace. As well as this, I was very fortunate my professor trusted me and gave me a lot of tasks, so therefore I had the chance to learn and progress. Also, I was given a project of my own to work on, this enabled me to develop many transferable skills and become more independent.
In Singapore I lived in a shared room on campus with a Singaporean girl who I go on very well with. There were many advantages to living in halls; I could meet other students easily, I could access the workplace quickly and there were so many facilities on campus. However NTU is the biggest campus I have ever visited, there were even 3 different free shuttle buses to move around campus. The shuttle buses were great and so convenient, as it was sometimes difficult to walk in the hot weather. However, feeling the sun shine on my face every morning was one of the best feelings and really brightened each day.
Apart from working Monday to Friday, with my free time after work I joined yoga and a salsa society. I really enjoyed salsa as this was a great opportunity to make local friends and understand the culture. At the weekends I would meet up with other exchange or local friends and see new things and try different food. Singapore has a lot to explore such as the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay as well as the surrounding islands, Sentosa, Pulau Ubin and many more. I was also lucky enough to do some travelling to Malaysia which is only a bus ride away, Taiwan and various spots in Indonesia, including Bali, Yogyakarta and Surabaya.
Singapore has truly been the most unexpectedly amazing year of my life; I have learnt so much in terms of life skills, laboratory techniques as well as understanding myself better. I never thought I would have made so many friends and connections as well as hiking a mountain, snorkelling and climbing into a cave!